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    Act I

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    Chapter 2
    Previous Chapter
    The General's office in a military station on the east front in
    Beotia. An office table with a telephone, writing materials,
    official papers, etc., is set across the room. At the end of the
    table, a comfortable chair for the General. Behind the chair, a
    window. Facing it at the other end of the table, a plain wooden
    bench. At the side of the table, with its back to the door, a
    common chair, with a typewriter before it. Beside the door, which
    is opposite the end of the bench, a rack for caps and coats.
    There is nobody in the room.

    General Strammfest enters, followed by Lieutenant Schneidekind.
    They hang up their cloaks and caps. Schneidekind takes a little
    longer than Strammfest, who comes to the table.

    STRAMMFEST. Schneidekind.

    SCHNEIDEKIND. Yes, sir.

    STRAMMFEST. Have you sent my report yet to the government? [He
    sits down.]

    SCHNEIDEKIND [coming to the table]. Not yet, sir. Which
    government do you wish it sent to? [He sits down.]

    STRAMMFEST. That depends. What's the latest? Which of them do you
    think is most likely to be in power tomorrow morning?

    SCHNEIDEKIND. Well, the provisional government was going strong
    yesterday. But today they say that the Prime Minister has shot
    himself, and that the extreme left fellow has shot all the
    others.

    STRAMMFEST. Yes: that's all very well; but these fellows always
    shoot themselves with blank cartridge.

    SCHNEIDEKIND. Still, even the blank cartridge means backing down.
    I should send the report to the Maximilianists.

    STRAMMFEST. They're no stronger than the Oppidoshavians; and in
    my own opinion the Moderate Red Revolutionaries are as likely to
    come out on top as either of them.

    SCHNEIDEKIND. I can easily put a few carbon sheets in the
    typewriter and send a copy each to the lot.

    STRAMMFEST. Waste of paper. You might as well send reports to an
    infant school. [He throws his head on the table with a groan.]

    SCHNEIDEKIND. Tired out, Sir?

    STRAMMFEST. O Schneidekind, Schneidekind, how can you bear to
    live?

    SCHNEIDEKIND. At my age, sir, I ask myself how can I bear to die?

    STRAMMFEST. You are young, young and heartless. You are excited
    by the revolution: you are attached to abstract things like
    liberty. But my family has served the Panjandrums of Beotia
    faithfully for seven centuries. The Panjandrums have kept our
    place for us at their courts, honored us, promoted us, shed their
    glory on us, made us what we are. When I hear you young men
    declaring that you are fighting for civilization, for democracy,
    for the overthrow of militarism, I ask myself how can a man shed
    his blood for empty words used by vulgar tradesmen and common
    laborers: mere wind and stink. [He rises, exalted by his theme.]
    A king is a splendid reality, a man raised above us like a god.
    You can see him; you can kiss his hand; you can be cheered by his
    smile and terrified by his frown. I would have died for my
    Panjandrum as my father died for his father. Your toiling
    millions were only too honored to receive the toes of our boots
    in the proper spot for them when they displeased their betters.
    And now what is left in life for me? [He relapses into his chair
    discouraged.] My Panjandrum is deposed and transported to herd
    with convicts. The army, his pride and glory, is paraded to hear
    seditious speeches from penniless rebels, with the colonel
    actually forced to take the chair and introduce the speaker. I
    myself am made Commander-in-Chief by my own solicitor: a Jew,
    Schneidekind! a Hebrew Jew! It seems only yesterday that these
    things would have been the ravings of a madman: today they are
    the commonplaces of the gutter press. I live now for three
    objects only: to defeat the enemy, to restore the Panjandrum, and
    to hang my solicitor.

    SCHNEIDEKIND. Be careful, sir: these are dangerous views to utter
    nowadays. What if I were to betray you?

    STRAMMFEST. What!

    SCHNEIDEKIND. I won't, of course: my own father goes on just like
    that; but suppose I did?

    STRAMMFEST [chuckling]. I should accuse you of treason to the
    Revolution, my lad; and they would immediately shoot you, unless
    you cried and asked to see your mother before you died, when they
    would probably change their minds and make you a brigadier.
    Enough. [He rises and expands his chest.] I feel the better for
    letting myself go. To business. [He takes up a telegram: opens
    it: and is thunderstruck by its contents.] Great heaven! [He
    collapses into his chair. This is the worst blow of all.

    SCHNEIDEKIND. What has happened? Are we beaten?

    STRAMMFEST. Man, do you think that a mere defeat could strike me
    down as this news does: I, who have been defeated thirteen times
    since the war began? O, my master, my master, my Panjandrum! [he
    is convulsed with sobs.]

    SCHNEIDEKIND. They have killed him?

    STRAMMFEST. A dagger has been struck through his heart--

    SCHNEIDEKIND. Good God!

    STRAMMFEST. --and through mine, through mine.

    SCHNEIDEKIND [relieved]. Oh, a metaphorical dagger! I thought you
    meant a real one. What has happened?

    STRAMMFEST. His daughter the Grand Duchess Annajanska, she whom
    the Panjandrina loved beyond all her other children, has--has--
    [he cannot finish.]

    SCHNEIDEKIND. Committed suicide?

    STRAMMFEST. No. Better if she had. Oh, far far better.

    SCHNEIDEKIND [in hushed tones]. Left the Church?

    STRAMMFEST [shocked]. Certainly not. Do not blaspheme, young man.

    SCHNEIDEKIND. Asked for the vote?

    STRAMMFEST. I would have given it to her with both hands to save
    her from this.

    SCHNEIDEKIND. Save her from what? Dash it, sir, out with it.

    STRAMMFEST. She has joined the Revolution.

    SCHNEIDEKIND. But so have you, sir. We've all joined the
    Revolution. She doesn't mean it any more than we do.

    STRAMMFEST. Heaven grant you may be right! But that is not the
    worst. She had eloped with a young officer. Eloped, Schneidekind,
    eloped!

    SCHNEIDEKIND [not particularly impressed]. Yes, Sir.

    STRAMMFEST. Annajanska, the beautiful, the innocent, my master's
    daughter! [He buries his face in his hands.]

    The telephone rings.

    SCHNEIDEKIND [taking the receiver]. Yes: G.H.Q. Yes...Don't bawl:
    I'm not a general. Who is it speaking?...Why didn't you say so?
    don't you know your duty? Next time you will lose your
    stripe...Oh, they've made you a colonel, have they? Well, they've
    made me a field-marshal: now what have you to say?...Look here:
    what did you ring up for? I can't spend the day here listening to
    your cheek...What! the Grand Duchess [Strammfest starts.] Where
    did you catch her?

    STRAMMFEST [snatching the telephone and listening for the
    answer]. Speak louder, will you: I am a General I know that, you
    dolt. Have you captured the officer that was with her?...
    Damnation! You shall answer for this: you let him go: he bribed
    you. You must have seen him: the fellow is in the full dress
    court uniform of the Panderobajensky Hussars. I give you twelve
    hours to catch him or...what's that you say about the devil? Are
    you swearing at me, you...Thousand thunders! [To Schneidekind.]
    The swine says that the Grand Duchess is a devil incarnate. [Into
    the telephone.] Filthy traitor: is that the way you dare speak of
    the daughter of our anointed Panjandrum? I'll--

    SCHNEIDEKIND [pulling the telephone from his lips]. Take care,
    sir.

    STRAMMFEST. I won't take care: I'll have him shot. Let go that
    telephone.

    SCHNEIDEKIND. But for her own sake, sir--

    STRAMMFEST. Eh?--

    SCHNEIDEKIND. For her own sake they had better send her here. She
    will be safe in your hands.

    STRAMMFEST [yielding the receiver]. You are right. Be civil to
    him. I should choke [he sits down].

    SCHNEIDEKIND [into the telephone]. Hullo. Never mind all that:
    it's only a fellow here who has been fooling with the telephone.
    I had to leave the room for a moment. Wash out: and send the girl
    along. We'll jolly soon teach her to behave herself here...Oh,
    you've sent her already. Then why the devil didn't you say so,
    you--[he hangs up the telephone angrily]. Just fancy: they
    started her off this morning: and all this is because the fellow
    likes to get on the telephone and hear himself talk now that he
    is a colonel. [The telephone rings again. He snatches the
    receiver furiously.] What's the matter now?...[To the General.]
    It's our own people downstairs. [Into the receiver.] Here! do you
    suppose I've nothing else to do than to hang on to the telephone
    all day?...What's that? Not men enough to hold her! What do you
    mean? [To the General.] She is there, sir.

    STRAMMFEST. Tell them to send her up. I shall have to receive her
    without even rising, without kissing her hand, to keep up
    appearances before the escort. It will break my heart.

    SCHNEIDEKIND [into the receiver]. Send her up...Tcha! [He hangs
    up the receiver.] He says she is halfway up already: they
    couldn't hold her.

    The Grand Duchess bursts into the room, dragging with her two
    exhausted soldiers hanging on desperately to her arms. She is
    enveloped from head to foot by a fur-lined cloak, and wears a fur
    cap.

    SCHNEIDEKIND [pointing to the bench]. At the word Go, place your
    prisoner on the bench in a sitting posture; and take your seats
    right and left of her. Go.

    The two soldiers make a supreme effort to force her to sit down.
    She flings them back so that they are forced to sit on the bench
    to save themselves from falling backwards over it, and is herself
    dragged into sitting between them. The second soldier, holding on
    tight to the Grand Duchess with one hand, produces papers with
    the other, and waves them towards Schneidekind, who takes them
    from him and passes them on to the General. He opens them and
    reads them with a grave expression.

    SCHNEIDEKIN. Be good enough to wait, prisoner, until the General
    has read the papers on your case.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS [to the soldiers]. Let go. [To Strammfest].
    Tell them to let go, or I'll upset the bench backwards and bash
    our three heads on the floor.

    FIRST SOLDIER. No, little mother. Have mercy on the poor.

    STRAMMFEST [growling over the edge of the paper he is reading].
    Hold your tongue.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS [blazing]. Me, or the soldier?

    STRAMMFEST [horrified]. The soldier, madam.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Tell him to let go.

    STRAMMFEST. Release the lady.

    The soldiers take their hands off her. One of them wipes his
    fevered brow. The other sucks his wrist.

    SCHNEIDKIND [fiercely]. 'ttention!

    The two soldiers sit up stiffly.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Oh, let the poor man suck his wrist. It may be
    poisoned. I bit it.

    STRAMMFEST [shocked]. You bit a common soldier!

    GRAND DUCHESS. Well, I offered to cauterize it with the poker in
    the office stove. But he was afraid. What more could I do?

    SCHNEIDEKIND. Why did you bite him, prisoner?

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. He would not let go.

    STRAMMFEST. Did he let go when you bit him?

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. No. [Patting the soldier on the back]. You
    should give the man a cross for his devotion. I could not go on
    eating him; so I brought him along with me.

    STRAMMFEST. Prisoner--

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Don't call me prisoner, General Strammfest. My
    grandmother dandled you on her knee.

    STRAMMFEST [bursting into tears]. O God, yes. Believe me, my
    heart is what it was then.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Your brain also is what it was then. I will
    not be addressed by you as prisoner.

    STRAMMFEST. I may not, for your own sake, call you by your
    rightful and most sacred titles. What am I to call you?

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. The Revolution has made us comrades. Call me
    comrade.

    STRAMMFEST. I had rather die.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Then call me Annajanska; and I will call you
    Peter Piper, as grandmamma did.

    STRAMMFEST [painfully agitated]. Schneidekind, you must speak to
    her: I cannot--[he breaks down.]

    SCHNEIDEKIND [officially]. The Republic of Beotia has been
    compelled to confine the Panjandrum and his family, for their own
    safety, within certain bounds. You have broken those bounds.

    STRAMMFEST [taking the word from him]. You are I must say it--a
    prisoner. What am I to do with you?

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. You should have thought of that before you
    arrested me.

    STRAMMFEST. Come, come, prisoner! do you know what will happen to
    you if you compel me to take a sterner tone with you?

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. No. But I know what will happen to you.

    STRAMAIFEST. Pray what, prisoner?

    THE GLAND DUCHESS. Clergyman's sore throat.

    Schneidekind splutters; drops a paper: and conceals his laughter
    under the table.

    STRAMMFEST [thunderously]. Lieutenant Schneidekind.

    SCHNEIDEKIND [in a stifled voice]. Yes, Sir. [The table vibrates
    visibly.]

    STRAMMFEST. Come out of it, you fool: you're upsetting the ink.

    Schneidekind emerges, red in the face with suppressed mirth.

    STRAMMFEST. Why don't you laugh? Don't you appreciate Her
    Imperial Highness's joke?

    SCHNEIDEKIND [suddenly becoming solemn]. I don't want to, sir.

    STRAMMFEST. Laugh at once, sir. I order you to laugh.

    SCHNEIDEKIND [with a touch of temper]. I really can't, sir. [He
    sits down decisively.]

    STRAMMFEST [growling at him]. Yah! [He turns impressively to the
    Grand Duchess.] Your Imperial Highness desires me to address you
    as comrade?

    THE GRAND DUCHESS [rising and waving a red handkerchief]. Long
    live the Revolution, comrade!

    STRAMMFEST [rising and saluting]. Proletarians of all lands,
    unite. Lieutenant Schneidekind, you will rise and sing the
    Marseillaise.

    SCHNEIDEKIND [rising]. But I cannot, sir. I have no voice, no
    ear.

    STRAMMFEST. Then sit down; and bury your shame in your
    typewriter. [Schneidekind sits down.] Comrade Annajanska, you
    have eloped with a young officer.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS [astounded]. General Strammfest, you lie.

    STRAMMFEST. Denial, comrade, is useless. It is through that
    officer that your movements have been traced. [The Grand Duchess
    is suddenly enlightened, and seems amused. Strammfest continues
    an a forensic manner.] He joined you at the Golden Anchor in
    Hakonsburg. You gave us the slip there; but the officer was
    traced to Potterdam, where you rejoined him and went alone to
    Premsylople. What have you done with that unhappy young man?
    Where is he?

    THE GRAND DUCHESS [pretending to whisper an important secret].
    Where he has always been.

    STRAMMFEST [eagerly]. Where is that?

    THE GRAND DUCHESS [impetuously]. In your imagination. I came
    alone. I am alone. Hundreds of officers travel every day from
    Hakonsburg to Potterdam. What do I know about them?

    STRAMMFEST. They travel in khaki. They do not travel in full
    dress court uniform as this man did.

    SCHNEIDEKIND. Only officers who are eloping with grand duchesses
    wear court uniform: otherwise the grand duchesses could not be
    seen with them.

    STRAMMFEST. Hold your tongue. [Schneidekind, in high dudgeon,
    folds his arms and retires from the conversation. The General
    returns to his paper and to his examination of the Grand
    Duchess.] This officer travelled with your passport. What have
    you to say to that?

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Bosh! How could a man travel with a woman's
    passport?

    STRAMMFEST. It is quite simple, as you very well know. A dozen
    travellers arrive at the boundary. The official collects their
    passports. He counts twelve persons; then counts the passports.
    If there are twelve, he is satisfied.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Then how do you know that one of the passports
    was mine?

    STRAMMFEST. A waiter at the Potterdam Hotel looked at the
    officer's passport when he was in his bath. It was your passport.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Stuff! Why did he not have me arrested?

    STRAMMFEST. When the waiter returned to the hotel with the police
    the officer had vanished; and you were there with your own
    passport. They knouted him.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Oh! Strammfest, send these men away. I must
    speak to you alone.

    STRAMMFEST [rising in horror]. No: this is the last straw: I
    cannot consent. It is impossible, utterly, eternally impossible,
    that a daughter of the Imperial House should speak to any one
    alone, were it even her own husband.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. You forget that there is an exception. She may
    speak to a child alone. [She rises.] Strammfest, you have been
    dandled on my grandmother's knee. By that gracious action the
    dowager Panjandrina made you a child forever. So did Nature, by
    the way. I order you to speak to me alone. Do you hear? I order
    you. For seven hundred years no member of your family has ever
    disobeyed an order from a member of mine. Will you disobey me?

    STRAMMFEST. There is an alternative to obedience. The dead cannot
    disobey. [He takes out his pistol and places the muzzle against
    his temple.]

    SCHNEIDEKIND [snatching the pistol from him]. For God's sake,
    General--

    STRAMMFEST [attacking him furiously to recover the weapon]. Dog
    of a subaltern, restore that pistol and my honor.

    SCHNEIDEKIND [reaching out with the pistol to the Grand Duchess].
    Take it: quick: he is as strong as a bull.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS [snatching it]. Aha! Leave the room, all of you
    except the General. At the double! lightning! electricity! [She
    fires shot after shot, spattering the bullets about the ankles of
    the soldiers. They fly precipitately. She turns to Schneidekind,
    who has by this time been flung on the floor by the General.] You
    too. [He scrambles up.] March. [He flies to the door.]

    SCHNEIDEKIND [turning at the door]. For your own sake, comrade--

    THE GRAND DUCHESS [indignantly]. Comrade! You!!! Go. [She fires
    two more shots. He vanishes.]

    STRAMMFEST [making an impulsive movement towards her]. My
    Imperial Mistress--

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Stop. I have one bullet left, if you attempt
    to take this from me [putting the pistol to her temple].

    STRAMMFEST [recoiling, and covering his eyes with his hands]. No
    no: put it down: put it down. I promise everything: I swear
    anything; but put it down, I implore you.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS [throwing it on the table]. There!

    STRAMMFEST [uncovering his eyes]. Thank God!

    THE GRAND DUCHESS [gently]. Strammfest: I am your comrade. Am I
    nothing more to you?

    STRAMMFEST [falling on his knee]. You are, God help me, all that
    is left to me of the only power I recognize on earth [he kisses
    her hand].

    THE GRAND DUCHESS [indulgently]. Idolater! When will you learn
    that our strength has never been in ourselves, but in your
    illusions about us? [She shakes off her kindliness, and sits down
    in his chair.] Now tell me, what are your orders? And do you mean
    to obey them?

    STRAMMFEST [starting like a goaded ox, and blundering fretfully
    about the room]. How can I obey six different dictators, and not
    one gentleman among the lot of them? One of them orders me to
    make peace with the foreign enemy. Another orders me to offer all
    the neutral countries 48 hours to choose between adopting his
    views on the single tax and being instantly invaded and
    annihilated. A third orders me to go to a damned Socialist
    Conference and explain that Beotia will allow no annexations and
    no indemnities, and merely wishes to establish the Kingdom of
    Heaven on Earth throughout the universe. [He finishes behind
    Schneidekind's chair.]

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Damn their trifling!

    STRAMMFEST. I thank Your Imperial Highness from the bottom of my
    heart for that expression. Europe thanks you.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. M'yes; but--[rising]. Strammfest, you know
    that your cause--the cause of the dynasty--is lost.

    STRAMMFEST. You must not say so. It is treason, even from you.
    [He sinks, discouraged, into the chair, and covers his face with
    his hand.]

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Do not deceive yourself, General: never again
    will a Panjandrum reign in Beotia. [She walks slowly across the
    room, brooding bitterly, and thinking aloud.] We are so decayed,
    so out of date, so feeble, so wicked in our own despite, that we
    have come at last to will our own destruction.

    STRAMMFEST. You are uttering blasphemy.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. All great truths begin as blasphemies. All the
    king's horses and all the king's men cannot set up my father's
    throne again. If they could, you would have done it, would you
    not?

    STRAMMFEST. God knows I would!

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. You really mean that? You would keep the
    people in their hopeless squalid misery? you would fill those
    infamous prisons again with the noblest spirits in the land? you
    would thrust the rising sun of liberty back into the sea of blood
    from which it has risen? And all because there was in the middle
    of the dirt and ugliness and horror a little patch of court
    splendor in which you could stand with a few orders on your
    uniform, and yawn day after day and night after night in
    unspeakable boredom until your grave yawned wider still, and you
    fell into it because you had nothing better to do. How can you be
    so stupid, so heartless?

    STRAMMFEST. You must be mad to think of royalty in such a way. I
    never yawned at court. The dogs yawned; but that was because they
    were dogs: they had no imagination, no ideals, no sense of honor
    and dignity to sustain them.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. My poor Strammfest: you were not often enough
    at court to tire of it. You were mostly soldiering; and when you
    came home to have a new order pinned on your breast, your
    happiness came through looking at my father and mother and at me,
    and adoring us. Was that not so?

    STRAMMFEST. Do YOU reproach me with it? I am not ashamed of it.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Oh, it was all very well for you, Strammfest.
    But think of me, of me! standing there for you to gape at, and
    knowing that I was no goddess, but only a girl like any other
    girl! It was cruelty to animals: you could have stuck up a wax
    doll or a golden calf to worship; it would not have been bored.

    STRAMMFEST. Stop; or I shall renounce my allegiance to you. I
    have had women flogged for such seditious chatter as this.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Do not provoke me to send a bullet through
    your head for reminding me of it.

    STRAMMFEST. You always had low tastes. You are no true daughter
    of the Panjandrums: you are a changeling, thrust into the
    Panjandrina's bed by some profligate nurse. I have heard stories
    of your childhood: of how--

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Ha, ha! Yes: they took me to the circus when I
    was a child. It was my first moment of happiness, my first
    glimpse of heaven. I ran away and joined the troupe. They caught
    me and dragged me back to my gilded cage; but I had tasted
    freedom; and they never could make me forget it.

    STRAMMFEST. Freedom! To be the slave of an acrobat! to be
    exhibited to the public! to--

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Oh, I was trained to that. I had learnt that
    part of the business at court.

    STRAMMFEST. You had not been taught to strip yourself half naked
    and turn head over heels--

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Man, I WANTED to get rid of my swaddling
    clothes and turn head over heels. I wanted to, I wanted to, I
    wanted to. I can do it still. Shall I do it now?

    STRAMMFEST. If you do, I swear I will throw myself from the
    window so that I may meet your parents in heaven without having
    my medals torn from my breast by them.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Oh, you are incorrigible. You are mad,
    infatuated. You will not believe that we royal divinities are
    mere common flesh and blood even when we step down from our
    pedestals and tell you ourselves what a fool you are. I will
    argue no more with you: I will use my power. At a word from me
    your men will turn against you: already half of them do not
    salute you; and you dare not punish them: you have to pretend not
    to notice it.

    STRAMMFEST. It is not for you to taunt me with that if it is so.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. [haughtily]. Taunt! I condescend to taunt! To
    taunt a common General! You forget yourself, sir.

    STRAMMFEST [dropping on his knee submissively]. Now at last you
    speak like your royal self.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Oh, Strammfest, Strammfest, they have driven
    your slavery into your very bones. Why did you not spit in my
    face?.

    STRAMMFEST [rising with a shudder]. God forbid!

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Well, since you will be my slave, take your
    orders from me. I have not come here to save our wretched family
    and our bloodstained crown. I am come to save the Revolution.

    STRAMMFEST. Stupid as I am, I have come to think that I had
    better save that than save nothing. But what will the Revolution
    do for the people? Do not be deceived by the fine speeches of the
    revolutionary leaders and the pamphlets of the revolutionary
    writers. How much liberty is there where they have gained the
    upper hand? Are they not hanging, shooting, imprisoning as much
    as ever we did? Do they ever tell the people the truth? No: if
    the truth does not suit them they spread lies instead, and make
    it a crime to tell the truth.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Of course they do. Why should they not?

    STRAMMFEST [hardly able to believe his ears]. Why should they
    not?

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Yes: why should they not? We did it. You did
    it, whip in hand: you flogged women for teaching children to
    read.

    STRAMMFEST. To read sedition. To read Karl Marx.

    THP GRAND DUCHESS. Pshaw! How could they learn to read the Bible
    without learning to read Karl Marx? Why do you not stand to your
    guns and justify what you did, instead of making silly excuses?
    Do you suppose I think flogging a woman worse than flogging a
    man? I, who am a woman myself!

    STRAMMFEST. I am at a loss to understand your Imperial Highness.
    You seem to me to contradict yourself.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Nonsense! I say that if the people cannot
    govern themselves, they must be governed by somebody. If they
    will not do their duty without being half forced and half
    humbugged, somebody must force them and humbug them. Some
    energetic and capable minority must always be in power. Well, I
    am on the side of the energetic minority whose principles I agree
    with. The Revolution is as cruel as we were; but its aims are my
    aims. Therefore I stand for the Revolution.

    STRAMMFEST. You do not know what you are saying. This is pure
    Bolshevism. Are you, the daughter of a Panjandrum, a Bolshevist?

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. I am anything that will make the world less
    like a prison and more like a circus.

    STRAMMFEST. Ah! You still want to be a circus star.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Yes, and be billed as the Bolshevik Empress.
    Nothing shall stop me. You have your orders, General Strammfest:
    save the Revolution.

    STRAMMFEST. What Revolution? Which Revolution? No two of your
    rabble of revolutionists mean the same thing by the Revolution
    What can save a mob in which every man is rushing in a different
    direction?

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. I will tell you. The war can save it.

    STRAMMFEST. The war?

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Yes, the war. Only a great common danger and a
    great common duty can unite us and weld these wrangling factions
    into a solid commonwealth.

    STRAMMFEST. Bravo! War sets everything right: I have always said
    so. But what is a united people without a united army? And what
    can I do? I am only a soldier. I cannot make speeches: I have won
    no victories: they will not rally to my call [again he sinks into
    his chair with his former gesture of discouragement].

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Are you sure they will not rally to mine?

    STRAMMFEST. Oh, if only you were a man and a soldier!

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Suppose I find you a man and a soldier?

    STRAMMFEST [rising in a fury]. Ah! the scoundrel you eloped with!
    You think you will shove this fellow into an army command, over
    my head. Never.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. You promised everything. You swore anything.
    [She marches as if in front of a regiment.] I know that this man
    alone can rouse the army to enthusiasm.

    STRAMMFEST. Delusion! Folly! He is some circus acrobat; and you
    are in love with him.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. I swear I am not in love with him. I swear I
    will never marry him.

    STRAMMFEST. Then who is he?

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Anybody in the world but you would have
    guessed long ago. He is under your very eyes.

    STRAMMFEST [staring past her right and left]. Where?

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Look out of the window.

    He rushes to the window, looking for the officer. The Grand
    Duchess takes off her cloak and appears in the uniform of the
    Panderobajensky Hussars.

    STRAMMFEST [peering through the window]. Where is he? I can see
    no one.

    THE GRAND DUCHESS. Here, silly.

    STRAMMFEST [turning]. You! Great Heavens! The Bolshevik Empress!
    Chapter 2
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